By Hambersom Aghbashian
Ahmet Hakan Coşkun, mostly known as Ahmet Hakan (born 11 August 1967, Yozgat-Turkey) is a Turkish writer and columnist, currently working at Hürriyet and CNN TURK. He used to be anchorman for the television channel 7. After completing his high school education in Imam Hatip high school, he spent few years studying at Uludag University, Faculty of Theology. He served at ‘TGRT’ Tv channel, 1993 – 1994; Tv ‘Channel 7’, 1994 – 2004; and ‘CNN Turk’ since 2005.
In response to racist online comments against Armenians, well-known Turkish journalist and host of CNN Turk television’s “Neutral Zone” program, Ahmet Hakan, said “I am Armenian, do you have anything to say?” on live broadcast on January 19, 2012.” The Turkish journalist noted he is shocked that people are still making online criticisms that Turkish youth are being tried for the murder of Hrant Dink, the founder and former chief editor of Istanbul’s Agos Armenian weekly, who was killed in 2007. “In those discussions I said the ‘We are all Armenians’ slogan, and I was astonished by the gross reactions. I saw that people still consider that being Armenian is a profanity and an insult. I told them I will say I am Armenian on live air. They asked me whether I could say I am a Turk in [Armenia’s capital] Yerevan. If I cannot say I am a Turk in Yerevan, this would be Yerevan’s shame, but if I [can] say I am Armenian in Istanbul, this would be Istanbul’s honor,” Ahmet Hakan stated.(1)
According to Today’s Zaman daily, September 2014, A group of academics, journalists, artists and intellectuals have released a statement condemning in the harshest terms what they define as expressions that include “open hatred and hostility” towards Armenians in Turkish schoolbooks, which were recently exposed by the newspapers Agos and Taraf. The two newspapers published reports on hateful remarks targeting Armenians in the textbooks used in history classes. A letter accompanying the text of the condemnation, written by historian Taner Akçam, notes that including such expressions as lesson material to teach children is a disgrace. The signees said textbooks in schools should seek to encourage feelings of peace, solidarity and living together over inciting hatred towards different religious and cultural groups, Akçam said. Ahmet Hakan was one of the prominent intellectuals who signed the statement.(2)
On May 4, 2015, Ahmet Hakan presented in Hurriyet his article titled “Seven thesis on Armenian Question” dwelling upon the main theory of Turkish denialism, proving that the Armenian Genocide is undeniable. He said “We keep mentioning the Armenian’s armed attacks. Was it a reason enough to deport and massacre all the Armenians? Why was the whole nation made responsible for the actions of a group of people?, then added “ Why do we pronounce genocidal leaders of the Young Turks movement our ancestors, instead of Rashid Bay, Mehmet Bay and Faik Ali Bey who protected Armenians?”. He also said “Whoever is calling the Genocide a lie – could they tell what happened to the Armenians – the most ancient nation inhabiting those lands? Where did they all go? What happened to their property? Who took it from them?”. Hakan continued his thesis saying “ We’re offended at the word ‘Armenian,’ we even apologize before pronouncing it. On April 24, we lay a black wreath outside the Agos office to commemorate the assassinated journalist Hrant Dink. How on earth are we going to persuade the world we’re so humane we wouldn’t hurt a fly?” and added “ Would the refusal to recognize the Genocide save us from facing our past? Will it wash away our sins and the blood we shed?”
Ahmet Hakan was injured in an organized assault” (Hürriyet Daily News, Oct. 1, 2015). He has been targeted with politically-motivated threats, and has been injured after an assault in front of his home. Four men attacked him in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, as he was returning home after hosting his program on private broadcaster CNNTürk. While one of the assailants targeted Hakan’s bodyguard, others attacked him. After the attack, perpetrators left the scene. Police detained three suspects after the attack. Another suspect was detained early Oct. 1. In their initial testimonies, the assailants claimed that the attack was the result of a heated dispute with Hakan after they quarreled with him in the traffic. The testimonies contradict video footage from the night, which shows the perpetrators starting to follow Hakan’s car as he left the CNN Türk studios after his program on the private broadcaster. Ahmet Hakan, who was hospitalized with broken bones in his nose and ribs, was discharged from hospital early Oct. 1. “Such attacks will never intimidate us. We are not afraid. We will continue walking on the path that we know is right,” Hakan said in a message conveyed to the public by Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin. “According to the information we have, the assailants followed Hakan after he left the television building. We see that it was an organized, planned attack,” Ergin told journalists in front of the hospital. (3)